"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Apr 18, 2010

Gaming the System

People accustomed to controlling others develop the habits of power. It should come as no surprise, then, when famed pragmatists of power propose legislation which will enable the federal, state and municipal governments to identify their subjects "biometrically."

Senators Chuck Schumer (D-New Amsterdam Banking and Trust) and Lindsay Graham (R-Confederate South Carolina) have cosponsored legislation which will create a "new Social Security card [that can] be swiped by employers through a machine to match a fingerprint or some other personal biometric feature against data stored on computers. Those who refuse to cooperate or otherwise knowingly hire unauthorized workers would face fines and even prison."

As a reminder, the State of Florida has developed a software program which will help officers of the State "to predict crime by young delinquents, putting potential offenders under specific prevention and education programs."

And Barack Obama has arrogated the authority to propose and order fiat executions, chooses to prosecute whistleblowers, continues assaults on privacy, whilst all the while defending Bush era invasive surveillance.

I won't suggest causative correlation, or sweeping conspiracy.

We don't need weak rhetorical tricks to relate the continuing encroachments upon a dwindling set of civil liberties, and the Commons, by the various power factions now ascendant.

We don't have to drown ourselves in the rabbit hole of conspiracy to see clearly that these encroachments occur routinely, and with little institutional and popular opposition.

Although the various institutions and power blocs often compete for control of population groups and captive markets, with varying degrees of success, they nonetheless share a similar and common structure.

Whether organized as states, or as corporations, command hierarchies form the dominant kind of  organization for accumulation (and therefore, power) in the US (and in Europe, Japan and coastal China). These hierarchies may have a few chief operators, with a governing board and a stable bureaucracy, or a small number of elected officials with a permanent superstructure of executors and enforcers.

They might have efficient managerial cultures, or organize towards competitive and internecine power maneuvering - but abiding in all of them remains a single, viral constant: the organization's command structure provides a means for the extraction of labor and resources from the environment whilst continuing ongoing efforts to reduce the likelihood that those doing the labor, or having the earth extracted out from underneath them, will resist their oppression.

Extraction, coupled with enforcement.

As technology (in regions with intensive "development," first; but also along those hybrid zones where "core" preys upon "periphery") allows new means of control and resistance to power, the various competing state and corporate factions must either keep up, or lose out on the ability to take value while preventing resistance.

So that what we see, in these latest efforts (outlined above, but also including private data mining regimes and corporate cooperation with protective governments), we ought understand as gaming the system.

As the rhizomation of information and communication proceeds (especially via the confederated data sets of the internet, despite strong corporation/state presence; and also in the less governable social spaces of intentional community, protest and illegal immigration), the various competing factions must attempt this system gaming, or else lose their capacity to dominate the cultural inheritance (the message, if you will) by which they constantly affirm and reinforce their authority.

If the various governments and corporations fail to constrain, co-opt,* attack or eliminate these ungovernable social loci, they allow resistance an opportunity to spread.

If those who labor for them begin to accept the validity of resistance, or believe that they can gain advantage from the weakening of control, political and economic ruling parties run increased risks of diminishing returns. In other words, the more wealth they must spend on enforcement, the less they invest in extraction.

Seen from that perspective, efforts to game the system make sense. If the various factions can embed enough mechanisms for control, and pre-planned disruptions of extra-systemic cooperation, before a populace stirs with resistance, enforcement (which includes isolation of insurrectionary elements, and their managed ostracism from the body politic) will not obstruct or degrade extraction.

* - see also, http://wunderkammermag.com/politics-and-society/trouble-service-liberalism

h/t DCBlogger @ Corrente

1 comment:

Jack Crow said...

Apologies for trading out simplicity of terms for precision of thought.